Cadel Evans is well-rested, no argument there.
Unlike previous years, he skipped the Giro, placed second in the Dauphine, did his mountain recons and is mentally fresh and physically chilled.
So what’s it all mean? A whole helluva lot, we think.
All stars appeared well-aligned for Evans who is still benefitting from the rainbow jersey boost in confidence and aggression. His legs are fresh, his mind is clear and he’s itching to hit the roads of La Grand Boucle.
Twisted Spoke feels like Evans is flying below the radar going into the 2011 Tour de France and that’s just how he wants it. While all the pre-race talk naturally focuses on the inevitable Contador and Schleck battle and guesswork on this years’ tour surprise rider, little has been said about Evan’s chances.
The quieter the better and silence is golden, or maybe in this case, yellow.
The Australian certainly isn’t throwing fuel on any fires with bold talk or pronouncements. It’s the usual Evans fare, “do my best, see how it goes, take it day-by-day.” Nothing to get the journalists worked up and spreading the internet buzz. The quotes are dull but the plan is rock solid.
As always, the question of Evan’s team strength is debatable but the man is so used to doing things on his own that eight guys wearing a BMC jersey is enough for him. He’s got Steve Marabito for the mountains and the rock-steady George Hincapie for the flats and race strategy and psychological calm.
Then there’s Marcus Burghardt and Brent Bookwalter, who will lend a hand and two legs in the team time trial. Anything else is an unexpected bonus.
What we left out is also Evan’s toughness — which was on display in last year’s Tour. He rode with hip and thigh injuries, then a fractured elbow in stage eight. He suffered even more than Ivan Basso in the mountains but grimly and doggedly soldiered on.
All in all, it’s as good a build-up as he’s had in years and the words “quietly confident” are probably a good fit.